What Is the Difference Between Whole Numbers and Natural Numbers?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 12, 2020 10:49:15 PM ET

The only difference between natural numbers and whole numbers is that a zero is included when mentioning whole numbers. Both natural and whole numbers are positive integers and, therefore, don't have any fraction or decimal part.

Natural numbers are either used to count one to one objects or represent the position of an object in a sequence. They start from one and go on to infinity.This is why they are sometimes referred to as counting numbers. The only whole number that cannot be classified as a natural number is 0. Counting numbers can further be classified into perfect numbers, composite numbers, co-prime/ relatively prime numbers, prime numbers, even and odd numbers.

The other classifications of numbers include:

  1. Integers - similar to whole numbers, but they also include negative numbers. Like natural and whole numbers, they do not have any fraction or decimal part.
  2. Rational number - refers to the quotient of two integers with a nonzero denominator.
  3. Irrational number - a number is irrational if it has infinite, nonrecurrent decimal places. The decimal value continues forever without any definitive pattern. Such numbers cannot be expressed in fraction form. The most widely known irrational number is pi; the golden ratio is also a notable irrational number.

Numbers can belong to multiple classification groups.